Visit the famous Rock
There is nothing quite like waking up to the sight of the famous Rock of Gibraltar, particularly if it is your first visit. There is so much to do at this port that it really is worth doing some advance research to decide on your priorities, even more so if your cruise ship leaves port early afternoon as ours did.
Gibraltar has several attractions, not least of which is its duty free shopping. Excursions on offer will take you to various places including the Alameda Gardens, Trafalgar Cemetery, Cable Car, St. Michael’s Cave, Great Siege Tunnels, Trinity Lighthouse and Ibrahim-al-Ibrahim Mosque at Europa Point. Some of these are easy enough to visit under your own steam and some are not.
A trip to the top of the Rock has to be the highlight and was certainly top of our list. The Rock can be accessed on a ships excursion, private tour or taxi, or via the cable car. The cable car station is located at the far end of Main Street, and is about a 45 min walk from the ship. You would need to check opening times on their website but on the day of our visit it opened at 9.30am. There is very often a queue so it pays to get there early, allowing plenty of time.
We left the ship at about 8.30am when the morning light was particularly lovely.
The pedestrian route into town is well marked by signposts.
You’ll pass this statue commemorating the Evacuation of the Gibraltarians 1940-1951
You will also see this map, which will help you to get your bearings
You will need to head through the archways to Casement Square
Continue south along Main Street (you can look at the shops on the way back!)
You will need to pass through the Southport Gates to the cable car station, which is on Red Sands Road.
Rock of Gibraltar Cable Car
Queuing at the Cable Car will probably take longer than the ride itself which is a very steep and hair raising 6 minutes. Not for anyone with a fear of heights!
There are, of course, fabulous views from the cable car
At the top of the rock there are plenty of viewing platforms, telescopes and a coffee/souvenir shop with wifi.
And, of course, incredible views!
The famous apes can be experienced close up or from a distance if you prefer (as we did!)
The cable car costs 12 euros pp for return trip. For the latest opening times and costs please check out the Visit Gibraltar website.
St. Michael’s Cave can be reached on foot from the cable car station and is included on some excursions. We’ve saved that and the Great Siege Tunnels for our next visit!
The Alameda Gardens are at the foot of the cable car and so are a good place to visit after a trip to the top of the rock. These gardens were laid out in 1816 and revitalized in the 1970s. They contain some fascinating plants from across the world and some shady spots that are very welcome on a hot day.
The Trafalgar Cemetery
This is located near the Southport Gate and so can be visited on the way back to the ship. Although the name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, most of those who died in this battle were buried at sea, with only two graves being of those who died of wounds in this battle.
Although it can be very frustrating to be leaving such a great port as Gibraltar so early in the day, it does allow for some fabulous views of the rock on departure.
You can find out more about Gibraltar at www.visitgibraltar.gi
Also if you do not want to do your own thing or take an excursion from the cruise line, check out the local tour operators such as Gibraltar Official Rock Tours.